Scripture Reflections

May 28: Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 28, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

 A total solar eclipse.

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In today’s readings, Paul finds himself facing a deep disagreement that is turning violent over the truth of the resurrection, and Jesus prays to God for the people of the world, “that they may all be one.” Between these two readings, it is clear that the peoples near Jesus are divided, fractured within their belief, value, and judgment systems.

Jesus’s prayer for Oneness on Earth is beyond something we even dream of today, facing a global pandemic and witnessing some of our deep-seated divisions manifest even when it seems like we should all unite for the common good. Like those of Jesus’ time, our communities too are comprised of well-meaning people who still disagree, sometimes in ways that cause deep harm and even death. We are even divided in our own Church, where we presumably hold certain truths and values in common.

It seems to be an inescapable reality that humans resist the kind of Oneness that God wants for us. Speaking to God, Jesus says “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

And so we ask ourselves, what would it be like for us, as a global community, to be united as one in love? At this time, that seems so painfully far away, we might wonder if we will ever see that day. And how do we keep courage like Paul, holding to the promise of God and the testament of Jesus’s Resurrection, when there is a temptation to fall in with the status quo, to reach for our comforts and simply count the days until we can go back to the way things were before?

The Risen Jesus appeared to Paul and called him out of his old life of persecuting followers of Christ to a new life of witnessing the hope of the Resurrection. Could it be that in this time God is calling us to change our lives, to radically transform how we live and the choices we make for the sake of building the Kingdom here on Earth, where we are united in Love and Oneness? That is a big question. Perhaps in this time of pause and reflection, where a lot of the unnecessary has been stripped away, we can attempt to answer it.  

 

 

Brinkley Johnson, Class of 2018

May 27: Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 27, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

 A path covered in fallen leaves splits off into two paths in the woods on an autumn day,

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Today’s readings show us two instances where we are encouraged to find in the world a joy that is complex and deeply rooted in Love. In the first reading, Paul leaves church leaders with a message before he goes on: “keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock”. In the Gospel reading, Jesus prays to God for the protection of all people and that they may know their belovedness even after Christ is not physically present. I love this Gospel reading because we get to see an honest conversation where Jesus is simultaneously filled with this vibrant joy and an intense longing to be one with his people. Both stories acknowledge a physical separation between human beings. People grieved Paul’s departure because it left them filled with uncertainty. Jesus prepared for the pain of leaving his people and asked God to show them the joy he has. These moments remind us that the Love of God transcends the physical space we are in. This love exists in the middle of uncertainty, loneliness, and confusion and gives us the freedom to hold the seemingly contradictory feelings of pain and joy. Our joy comes from trust that God is present even when we don’t understand how. The ways our hearts break for the world shows us how we arise from Love.  

 

Deirdre Pearson, Class of 2022  

May 26: Memorial of Saint Philip Neri

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 26, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

Sunlight illuminates wildflowers

 

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Today is the Memorial of St. Philip Neri, an Italian saint who lived from 1515-1595. At age 18, Philip Neri felt called to a life devoted to faith. While he first considered studying to be a priest, at that time he found himself called to life as a lay person, and devoted his life to engaging others in conversation, inviting folks into community, and serving those who were most vulnerable. At age 36, with his ministry flourishing and many young people joining him to devote their life to prayer and service, Philip Neri found himself discerning again how to best live his vocation to love and serve God. He decided that he could serve the most people through ordination, and he became a priest, in order to better serve the community he loved. Philip Neri considered becoming a missionary to India, but discerned that his most urgent call was to remain in Rome, bearing witness to God’s love in the midst of a Church that was in need of reform and revitalization. Philip Neri was known for his joyful sense of humor, and devoted life of prayer and service. His joyful faith inspired many others in Rome, including some of the early Jesuits like Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier. Philip Neri also celebrated the gifts and vocation of the laity in a time of entrenched clericalism, and offered many people ways to engage in prayer and service in the midst of their lives.  

In today’s first reading Paul says that he has committed his life wholeheartedly to the ministry to “bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.” Jesus too, in our Gospel reading, looks back on his life and prays that he has accomplished the work that God gave him to do. Jesus, Paul, and Philip Neri remind us today that a life of constant discernment can lead to flourishing for us and for all the people in our circles of relationship. Each of us who have come to know Jesus have come to know the wonderful love of God. Like our role models in faith, we are called to discern how to respond. Let us consider what work God is entrusting to each of us, given our gifts, desires, and the world’s needs. May we be people of discernment, prayer, and service who respond wholeheartedly to God’s invitation, and bear witness to God’s love and grace in our lives with joy.

 

JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy and Resident Minister

May 25: Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter (Memorial Day)

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 25, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

A collection of lit tea lights against a dark backdrop.

 

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On this important national holiday, Memorial Day, we reverently remember those who served our country in times of war and paid the ultimate price for that service – they paid with their very lives. It is heartbreaking to think about the sacrifice of those individuals as well as the unending sacrifice of their families. I believe it is our call as Christians to remember those who have died in military service to America, keep their families in prayer, and serve our veterans with compassion.

To my knowledge, I have five family members who served in the military and only one of them died in the line of duty. One of my ancestors served as far back as the Revolutionary War, two (father and son!) fought for the North in the Civil War, my maternal grandfather served in World War II, and finally - sadly, my father’s cousin died in Vietnam. (My family still feels the pain of his loss, of course.) Looking at the conflicts named here, many people have very different reactions to each one. There are varying perceptions of the rightness (in terms of the moral claims) of each one. Ultimately, as Christians, we must be willing to thoughtfully hold those perceptions in tandem with our compassion for those who have served and died for our country and their loved ones. All the while, we must be tirelessly pursuing the reign of God, as did the Apostles in our reading from the book of Acts today. All of the scriptures point to the characteristics of this reign… It is the fullness of time when swords are beaten into ploughshares and former enemies greet one another with a sign of peace. Days like today emphasize for us that God’s reign is not yet complete and that we have much work to do.

Our gospel reading today from the book of John is a very good illustration of how Jesus held the pain of the current moment and yet instilled courage and hope in his disciples. On the one hand, Jesus foreshadows his own crucifixion and yet says, “But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” In our own darkest hour – both as individuals and as a global community – how do we recognize the presence of God With Us? Particularly on solemn days like this one, we must search to find and indeed, we must be God’s peace, love, and compassion in this world that aches with conflict and division. It is my prayer that Jesus’s words reassure us today as they must have reassured his disciples. “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” We know that Jesus conquers the world with love so, to that end, we carry out his commandment to love one another – all others – and bring the reign of God to greater fullness.

On this day and every day may the souls of all of our departed soldiers rest in peace and may their families experience the peace of God, the love of their communities, and the support of all Americans.

 

 

Erin Beary Andersen, Associate Director of Campus Ministry

May 24: The Ascension of the Lord

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 24, 2020 at 4:05 PM PDT

 On this Sunday, the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, Fr. Tom Murphy, S.J. preaches on the Sunday readings

 

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